By Tony Alvarez
Following up on our series of interviews with Table Tennis players, i have conducted an interview with the World number 2 in paralympic band 7. I wanted to find out how he trains and what difficulties he had in his life. If you have anything you would like to know leave the questions as a comment and i will forward them to the man himself.
I hope you enjoy
Full name; William John Bayley
Date of birth; 17/01/88
Place of birth; Poole
Current club; National Centre (York gardens)
GETTING TO KNOW ‘Will Bayley’
Most famous person on your mobile?
Ummmmm no one to be honest,, were all about as unknown as each other.
What’s guaranteed to make you mad?
People moaning about how much of a struggle life is.
Best place you’ve ever been too?
Rio de Janeiro or Las Vegas
Favourite television program?
Sky Sports News
Who was/is your favourite sportsman?
Ali, best sportsman that’s ever lived and inspirational in his belief in himself and the way he put it across.
Best Film Ever?
Forrest Gump, I like the way he overcomes a lot and turns out to be very successful against all odds.
Who would you sing on stars in your eyes?
Ummmm I think Kanye West, I could pull it off.
What’s your signature dish?
Chicken and rice surprise.
J20 orange and passion fruit
For those who don’t know you you’re a Paralympian having competed in Beijing, What class do you play in? What are the specifications for this class?
I play in class 7 which usually means the restriction of 2 limbs, in my case I have all 4 limbs affected. Sometimes classification is flexible to how well you can cope with your disability. My disability is arthrogryposis which stiffens all 4 joints and restricts movement in them.
You have competed in the Paralympics, how did it feel to play in the World’s biggest multi sports games?
1 word AMAZING, I want more, I train everyday to achieve in my career as best I can,, but without a medal in a Paralympics my career will always be missing something, I could win every international competition with every player in the world competing, but without a Paralympic medal it would count for very little in my opinion, I judge players on major success not international success.
What’s been the best moment of your career so far, of course playing in the Paralympics is huge, is it bigger than winning international events?
Playing in the Paralympics was a truly great experience. However I was very young and even more inexperienced. I think winning 3 international tittles last year was amazing. And to be world ranked no2 is a great achievement and deserved.
You have overcome so much in your life so far, as you have had such huge pressures off the table do you feel there is no pressure on the table?
As a young boy growing up I overcame cancer and was given a 50% chance of survival at the age of 7 so I forgot about my disability and concentrated on getting better. I feel all that has helped me achieve in sport as I no I can push harder than anyone else and dig deeper when I need to. Pressure is just a word and everyone feels pressure at a time in there life or at a competition but I feel you can use it in a positive way and you know your opponent is feeling just as pressured as you if not more.
What was the lowest moment of your career so far?
In 2007 I was re classified from being the best player in class 6 to being an average class 7 player it was a hard time for me! It’s taken me 3 years to get my ranking and standard up to what it was in the previous class.
As you have been so dedicated to table tennis do you ever feel you missed out on a social life or growing up like a “normal” kid?
Sometimes I feel it might have done, but it’s worth it when you win things, there is no feeling like it, I am hungry for 2012. Then hopefully I can live the rest of my life as a champion.
Your currently 2nd in the world, do you find it a shame that you can be the 2nd best in the World at something and the average person doesn’t know who you are?
Not really I feel there are loads of people that deserve credit and publicity, i.e. soldiers, doctors, nurses they deserve it more than I do.
Where do you see yourself in say, four years time?
Preparing to go into the Rio Olympics as the raining champ!
Whilst on the topic of the future, let’s move forward 20 years time. Do you still wish to be involved in Table Tennis or do you see yourself in a different career?
To be honest I feel it is very difficult to make money out of being a Paralympic athlete in table tennis. I feel the sponsors are no were near as supportive as they are to able bodied athletes and the RESPECT is not there its very sad but very true. So no matter what I achieve I will probably not ever make a living out of it although that is the dream.
Is it possible for you to make a living out of Table Tennis or will you need another job along side Table Tennis?
As I have just explained it is very hard to make a living out of Paralympic table tennis, I mean If I was 250 in the world in able bodied sport I would probably get more sponsorship deals than I do being world no2 in Paralympic sport but that’s life. I think it’s great that sports get support in able bodied competition I just feel it should be fairer but I am very biased. So yeah I will need a job to support my career in the future although at the moment all my focus is on training for London 2012.
How many times a week do you train and how long is each session generally?
Mainly 2 times per day for 3 hours a time.
Do you do both physical and on the table training?
Yes I think its important, I think if you feel fitter stronger faster than the other player you will have a mental edge.
You previously trained at Filton academy in Bristol, but are now at the national academy in Sheffield, How much of an influence was Filton on your career?
I currently train in Sheffield and have done for 1 year, Bristol was amazing for me and I loved it, Kevin Satchill was an inspirational coach and I cannot thank him enough for what he was done for me. It was the 1st time I’ve moved away from my family and he was a father to me, hopefully I will repay him one day with Olympic gold.
Thank you for your time we wish you all the best in the future.